This time last year the East Campbelltown Eagles were licking their wounds after being kicked out of Group Six.
But after their 27-20 demolition of Mounties in the Sydney Shield rugby league grand final on Sunday, the Eagles are boasting that they are the most successful rugby league club in the Campbelltown area – of all time.
And who can argue with them when the Eagles can list premierships in the Wests A Grade, Canterbury A Grade, Group 6 first grade, the CRL Claytons Cup and now the Sydney Shield.
On Sunday, the Eagles had a mountain to climb in their David versus Goliath battle against the mighty Mounties, one of the toughest clubs in the state with the backing of a huge pokies palace at Mount Pritchard.
In front of a vocal crowd at Allianz Stadium, the Eagles had landed on the big stage barely a year after being unceremoniously dumped by Group Six.
The first 15 minutes saw both teams testing each other’s defence.
It was first blood to the Eagles when Fusi Toutai scored in the corner, and Stephen Harding converted for a 6-0 lead.
Mounties then regained the momentum and were rewarded with two unconverted tries to grab an 8-6 lead.
In what was turning into a great grand final, the Eagles took back control of the game and should have scored, but they were held over the line not once, not twice but three times.
But the Eagles line speed was causing headaches to the Mounties attack, and suddenly Sam Hoare pounced for an intercept and ran away to score under the uprights for a 12-8 lead.
Mounties however hit back on the stroke of half time to snare the lead as they headed for the sheds, 14-12.
They were first to score in the second half, opening up a serious lead at 20-12, but there were still 25 minutes to go before the hooter.
A successful penalty helped the Eagles level the scores at 20-all.
A break made by Lamoni Kamuta finished with an offload to Cruise Iosefa who scored in the corner and the Eagles were back in front 26-20.
After a few nervous minutes as both teams threw everything but the kitchen sink at each other, Chris Standing put the issue to bed with a field goal as the clock showed less than a minute to go.
Man of the match was Sam Hoare, players player was Jimmy Laulilii.